Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user jbarab

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

218 Comment

  • Becks

    Rave: After a week in bed, I feel better! And it should be a slow day at work!
    Rant: The squirrels have found the backyard. I expect the tomatoes to be gone by the time I get home. Or at least, plucked, bitten and discarded.
    Rant: Bad neighbors had some of the people living in the group house move out. The ones left drink a lot and my front yard looks like an ashtray from all of their cigarette butts! This is not to criticize alcohol; alcohol is wonderful. But with all of the empty bottles, you’d think they could put them to use as ashtrays!
    Rave: I feel better.

  • palisades

    Anyone going to the Snallygaster beer festival thingie? Anyone been before? Want to know what I got myself into…

    • If you got the VIP pass you will get 1.5 hours of relative peace to enjoy some rare and exceptional beers before the hordes of soon-to-be drunken bros descend. Or at least that has been my experience in the past (but not as bad as the flat fee, all-you-can-taste beer festivals). If there are any particular beers you are interested in I would STRONGLY suggest taking a look at the list and map and targeting those first. For some of these they will only have one of two kegs available. There is an app this year with a map that lets you create a list ahead of time and check beers off once you’ve tasted them.

    • Yes! It’s fun but very crowded. You can use your tickets to buy food, small beer pours, or large beer pours. You should figure out what beers you want in advance if possible, because the rarest ones go quickly – basically as soon as you grab one beer, get in line for the next (unless you get a big pour). If you’re going with friends, pick a designated meeting point so you can go grab a beer and then meet up without stressing about finding them again. Good crowd, though.

    • I went last year. Crowded but fun. Going again this year, happy it will be in yards park this time.

    • I’m going this year, first time. I used to be crazy into craft beer, going to SAVOR every year, keeping up with the trendy stuff. Now I’m not as up on things and I think that might lead to a better experience. I’m not going to be all sad if I don’t get to try some totally crazy, never to be seen again beer.
      Has the incredible and awesome boom done that to other craft beer enthusiasts? I just feel like the market is so flooded I can’t even keep up any more. I was a crazy Dog Fish fan, but even they release so many beers now I can’t be bothered to put in the effort to keep up with it. Full disclosure: I’ve gotten way into cocktails in the past few years, so that’s also taking up more drinking bandwidth.

      • justinbc

        My biggest discontent with the current state of the market is that I’m not as much of a sour lover as every brewery keeps trying to force me to become. I get it, they’re neat, now can we get back to the other stuff?

        • Ugh. The sour and hops arms races have turned me off recently. I’m not anti-IPA, but I don’t need to be overpowered by hops.
          I just can’t really get behind sours. Sure, some sour taste balanced out by other aspects, sometimes this occurs in Saisons (god I loved that trend, can we please stay on the saison trend???), is fine and often adds to the overall quality. But if I want something that makes my face pucker I’ll just go get some sour patch kids.

          • Andie302

            I’ve enjoyed a lot of the sours I’ve tried – but I’m 100% with you on saisons!

          • justinbc

            I’ve enjoyed many sours, but now that they’re popular everyone is doing it (and many not so well), and it’s cut back on the creativity that was happening in other areas. It’s just too much. At SAVOR this year it seemed like half the beers were sours.

        • I can’t do the sour–I not only dislike the taste but it also gives me heartburn. I also dislike the trend toward super high alcohol beers. Anything over 10% no longer tastes like beer to me. I’m all for the opposite trend, low alcohol session beers.

    • justinbc

      I’ve been to both years, and both were outstanding. I’m definitely happy they’re moving it back to Yards Park though, as the Union Market parking lot was just too much of a clusterf… If you’re really into beer I advise taking a look at the list well ahead of time and planning out which ones are priorities for you. This makes navigating through the crowds much easier, and I’ve always been able to get tastes of the ones I wanted, particularly the ones that you’ll never see in this market otherwise. It’s not really for people who just want to get drunk, although that certainly is possible.

    • goaldigger

      It’s expensive because you’ll pay per taste (and some are as much as a full pour) but you will get to try some rare stuff. Do get the app and make a list of what you want to try (stuff does run out). If you are going alone, you can join up with my meetup group (we’ll probably pick a spot where people can gathering between getting beers). http://www.meetup.com/Beer-Head/

    • So jealous! I had the bright idea to sign up for the Navy-Air Force Half on Sunday. When I was 25, I wouldn’t have given a Saturday afternoon beerfest before a race a second thought. Not so cool anymore…

    • I’ll be working the event. I’m not sure what beer booth I’ll be at yet though. I hope you have a good time!

    • Ally

      Yep, I’ll be going! It’s my first year but my S.O. has been to the prior two. He’s happy to see it back at Navy Yard.

  • Emmaleigh504

    rant: my skin feels weird.
    rave: once I fall asleep, I’m sleeping so much better, thanks to new pillow.

  • future rave: gtown dessert tour with my bff on saturday. literally what is pulling me through these hours.
    rant: general exhaustion. I think I had so much stress built up in my body over the past 3-4 weeks that I had held in to get through everything and now it’s finally starting to dissipate but the resulting effect is that I want to lay down and close my eyes for 72 hours.

    • Andie302

      It might be worth scheduling a massage if you have the time/means. It works wonders!

      • +1. Also a huge fan of acupuncture in these situations. It feels like it just melts away the built up stress.

        • Any recommendations for acupuncture? How much is it?
          I really want to try it.

          • I go to Pekoe Acupuncture in Shaw and am a huge fan. My insurance covers all but a copay, and Pekoe submits on my behalf and makes the payment process really simple. I’ve also tried City Acupuncture Circle in Dupont and really liked it. The price is pay-as-you wish, $20-50, and the experience is “communal” in a way that I appreciate.

          • Echoing the recommendation for Pekoe.

      • I highly recommend Revive Spa in Dupont Circle for massages. Not fancy, but they definitely get the job done. They’ve got some sort of signature massage that’s the perfect combo of Swedish “ahh…that feels so good” and deep tissue “ahh! That hurts so good.”

  • Rant: Took a drive down H Street last night and sorry to say but the streetcar just simply will not be a success. Until they do something to get rid of or discourage all the people just lazily loitering between 6th and 10th all day every day, crossing in the middle of street whenever they please, it’s just going to remain a traffic bottleneck. I even saw 3 kids on bikes popping wheelies in the middle of intersections showing off for the world and being a general nuisance.

  • skj84

    Rave: Great conversation with my girlfriends last night. It just feels good to chat the night away.

    Rant: My horrible time management skills. I just cannot get things done on time these days. Need to be more productive.

    Popville brunch will be September 27th at Bar Pilar. https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/popville-brunch-group

  • Rant: I was too tired to go to the Upshur Street Books Kikcstarter party and dancing last night, even though I had planned on both.
    Rave: I think I was tired from house projects, which are going well and I got 8 hours of sleep last night.
    Rave: totally glam crystal door knobs.
    Rant: Why does Community Forklift have 40% off flash sales during the week when they’re only open until 6? I need a few things and I might have to sneak out early today. It’s going to take me at least 45 minutes to get there from work.
    Rave: A friend interviewed me for a vlogging project and I’m happy with the results. I’m also really impressed he takes this on all on his own and brings a lot of different perspectives together to document events. It’s mostly about dance, so it’s not going to change the world, but it’s awesome to see people taking on cool projects for the community’s benefit and no monetary reward.
    Shilling: I still have a bunch of Graze box codes if anyone wants to try a free box.

    • I went to the Kickstarter party – but didn’t know there would be dancing. We left around 8, had dinner then came back around 9:30 to pick up some free books. No one dancing then, but hey – it can always happen. It was fun – good sense of community and being in on helping start something good.

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    Rant: My recycling bin was overflowing again this week. I live alone yet somehow I generate more recyclable trash than anyone else on my block. Not sure if it’s a sign of my commitment to green living or that I drink too much.

    Rave: My micro-managing boss canceled our one-on-one this morning. However we still are meeting this afternoon for the very ominous subject of “Review your status report.”

    • We have a trash room in our basement with a number of those giant trash cans and two similarly sized giant recycling bins. I’m impressed that our recycling bins are always over flowing, though it means I need to time my recycling to be just after pick up days.
      But, the two recycling bins just moved from the middle of the room to the front and apparently this has completely unspooled a number of 30-something, competent, condo owners. Everyone is putting bags of trash in the recycling bins! Is everyone color blind? There are more women than men in the building, so I doubt it. What gives?

    • Emmaleigh504

      good luck on the afternoon meeting!

    • I sometimes feel like I should leave a note in the recyle bin explaining that I’m not in fact, an alcoholic! We use one bin between 3 apts. in my home. Also, a few times I have had guests (I rent one apt. for vacation stays through Homeaway) that drink cheap crap wine and confess, I’ve occasionally been too embarrassed to put the bottles in recycle and instead hid them in regular trash.

  • Rave: Had three people RSVP for the open house for my Adams Morgan rental unit on Sunday afternoon, and all three people showed up.
    Rant: None of them ended up taking it.
    Query: What’s the best time of day to schedule an open house, and how long should it be? I’ve mainly been doing late-morning open houses on Saturdays and for one hour (like 10-11 or 11-noon), but I’m thinking maybe I need to shift to afternoons and extend the time window.

    • On the weekend? Maybe 1-3 or 2-4? Or maybe extend the 11-noon to 11-1 PM. I hate having to be anywhere on a Saturday before 10.

    • I do weeknight evenings, say 6-8 (or maybe 9 if it looks like a lot of people are going to come). but this is because I don’t want to lose a precious weekend day on an open house.
      for weekend, I could see scheduling early-ish so people can get on with their day, but then you lose the late sleepers. maybe 11-1 is a good compromise.
      good luck – I think its crazy this place isn’t rented!!

      • “I think its crazy this place isn’t rented!!”
        TBH, I think it’s overpriced by $150-200 for that location and in that condition. Hence why it’s sat on the market for so long. The market is speaking; lower the price.

        • Emmaleigh504

          I don’t! It’s bigger and has better amenities than my building a block away and they cost about the same.

        • Accountering

          You think a 1br on Columbia Road is worth $1550/month? Interesting.

          • A small, dated 1BR in a building with zero amenities on a loud busy street? Yes. I’d say $1600 would be the appropriate target price. It would be $1550, if it did not have in-unit washer/dryer.
            Look at the competition in the neighborhood; there’s nicer 1BRs renting for $1550-1650 on quieter streets. At $1775, she’s actually competing with places in the $1700-2000 range which gets you a similar sized 1BR or large studio apartment renovated within the last 10 years and usually has a roof terrace or other shared amenities. It’s a different class of renters. If her kitchen were renovated, I think $1750-1800 would be attainable.
            If it was a great deal, it would have been snatched up weeks ago. This is PRIME rental season; nothing should really be sitting on the market for more than a week or two if it’s priced correctly.
            I agree with your assessment on AirBnB. She could probably make a killing in that location with tourists/short-term contractors who want to be in a lively area. But that’s a lot more work on her part (cleaning, arranging meet ups, etc.)

          • Also, I apologize if I come off as a dick, Textdoc. I’m just trying to be brutally honest about my thought process as a renter. I’m fairly cutthroat about how I approach these things.

          • You have to also consider that there is a TON of new complexes coming online all competing with each other as well so there are mega bargains out there. I’m not saying it’s a renter’s market but at $1775, you are now competing with new buildings that charge $2000 for a 1br but with a free month, kicks it down to around $1825. For that extra $50 with all the gee whiz amenities and new construction (so in theory less problems), it’s almost a no brainer. I’m also a renter and have to consider options as well now as I have to give 60 day notice next week if I’m going to stay or go.

        • Yeah, I know nothing about the place, but if it’s taking any amount of time it’s likely overpriced.

    • Accountering

      We should AirBNB that thing! You can get WAY more than $1750/month on a short term basis 🙂

      • Not really. Especially not for that location. Airbnb for DC is an overcrowded CF. There are over 1,400 listings. Also, potential guests are starting to realize the prices, once you factor in the 10-12% fee, are often more than hotels.

        • houseintherear

          Geez – gotta say you’re way off on this one! I am deep into the AirBnB thing after starting about 6 months ago, and it’s quite a thriving business in DC based on my experience and the many experiences I’ve heard about from other guests and hosts. My guest room is booked for the next two months (on weekends)… and it’s about 1/3 or less the price of a hotel room.

          • Good for you – but it is a very different market renting out a room in your house over weekends and renting an entire apt. full-time.

            And I just did a quick search of Airbnb for 3 nights 9/19-9/22 – most “private room” in shared house (that look at all comfortable in a good location) are $100.00 a night or more – so an average total with fees & cleaning of $366.00. Booking.com gives me the Windsor Park hotel at Dupont Circle for the same weekend at total (including tax) of $310.00.

            But I’d love to see your listing.

    • You might re-consider your rental price. Also, search on your competition and ask yourself honestly which place people would choose to live, why, and how you can make your’s more desirable. Whenever I’ve needed new tenants (six years of renting – very nice basement 1/2 block from Columbia Heights Metro) I get 50-70 responses from CL then hold an open house on a Sat. afternoon. Usually 30-40 people show up and everyone wants it. And I’ve always had great tenants.

    • Thanks for the feedback. A neighbor with an identical unit (except that it’s all hardwood — a previous tenant of his had destroyed the carpet) was able to get $1750 in the winter, so I think I should try for $1750 at least a little while longer.
      The Craigslist listings for one-bedroom apartments in that price range in Adams Morgan seemed to be mostly basement apartments and/or ones in less convenient buildings, but I’ll scour them some more and do some soul-searching.
      I’ve also tweaked the wording of my ad to mention that although the building is on Columbia Road, the unit is (because it doesn’t face Columbia) “surprisingly quiet.” Several of my open-house visitors had remarked on this, so perhaps I haven’t been selling that aspect as much as I should’ve.

      • “Several of my open-house visitors had remarked on this, so perhaps I haven’t been selling that aspect as much as I should’ve.”
        Definitely. When I read “Columbia Road” my mind immediately thinks of backed up traffic, loud buses spewing fumes, and double-parked cars blaring music. Convenient? Yes. But also incredibly loud.
        If the place is surprisingly quiet and does not face the street, that should be stressed. Good luck!

        • Thank you!
          I’ve changed the “location” blank — where I originally had “Adams Morgan – 1700 block Columbia Road” — to just “Adams Morgan,” and I’ve amended the description as follows:
          “Extremely convenient location — the building is on the 1700 block of Columbia Road and is four doors down from the Safeway and three doors down from the CVS. However, the unit itself faces east (rather than facing Columbia Road) and is set back from the street, and is thus surprisingly quiet. Harris Teeter is just a 7-minute walk (0.4 miles) away.”

    • justinbc

      I think Sunday is more effective than Saturday. Although now that it’s NFL season that may change. Although if you need a place to live hopefully that ranks higher in your priorities, but you never know…

      • I’ve mainly been doing Saturdays because I do a radio show on Sunday afternoons, but I might try doing a Sunday late-afternoon one.
        Are NFL games only on Sundays, or are there Saturday games too?

  • Rave: Nats tickets for my daughter’s birthday in a few weeks. She’s a big fan.
    Rant: I wanted to do a scoreboard message for her, but it’s $100.
    PoPville: Anyone got a free scoreboard message (I think they come with some ticket packages) they aren’t going to use? It would make a little kid’s day. Maybe even her year. Her mom’s, too. 🙂

    • How old is your daughter? For younger kids it’s completely worth it to sign them up for the Nats Kids Club. $20 at the start of the season and the benefits are worth many, many times that (BOGO ticket offer itself pays for the price). Comes with coupons for a free kids meal, free scoreboard message, free ballpark tour, free promo item at the end of the season, etc. Seriously, it’s one of the best deals in town

      • She’s 7. I only found out about the Junior Nationals thing a few weeks ago. We’re definitely signing up for the 2015 season!

        • For what it’s worth you may still be able to sign up for this season; I would give the Nats a call. Just getting the scoreboard message would make it worthwhile. You’d have to jump on it, though, because they need several days’ lead time to guarantee a scoreboard message for particular game.

  • Rave: I have a second date tonight, hoping everything goes as well as the first! Trying not to over think things, I think she likes me for me 🙂

  • rave: fall weather!
    rave: enjoyed fall weather by sitting outside having beers with neighbors
    rant: mosquitoes are still out in force, and i got eaten alive sitting out having beers. stayed up all night scratching mozzie bites. 🙁

  • Rave: I’m getting back to my normal schedule and routine after being out of town for a few days.
    Rant: I’m so afraid that I’m going to get a cold from all the travel and lack of sleep.
    Rave: Work projects that engage my brain and hit on topics that I’m passionate about. Win/win.

  • goaldigger

    Rave: Futon covers (outer and inner one to prevent bed bugs) laundered and smelling fresh
    Rant: Do you know how hard it is to put a cover on a queen-sized futon by yourself?

    • Accountering

      Virtually impossible. I tried to do it on my king size bed. Had to give up and wait until the cleaner showed up to help. Good for you for getting it done!

    • Heh — I remember having that problem with the full-size futon I was using as a sofa!

  • Rant: AHHHHHH! Moving/ trying to find somewhere to move is making me want to pull my hair out. My co-workers are so sick of me talking about it. I am sick of talking about it. But sometimes I believe talking about it will make it a reality.
    Rant/Rave: My vacationship (a relationship that has been going on for years, but only for 2 weeks a year) is coming to visit in October for a week! We’ve never even had a sleep over. This is freaking me out.
    Rave: You all!

    • You never had a sleep over while on vacation together?

    • Andie302

      What/where/when are you looking to move? And can we hear more about the vacationship? Sounds like fun! Enjoy it!!!

      • October 1st, anywhere in the district but specifically Hill/Stanton Park area, colheights, shaw, mt. pleasant. 2 bedroom around $2400 (or 1 bdrm around 1300). I just want something that has character! Any ideas?

        Vacationship is scary- I’ve told me I do not want to be in a relationship with him, but if he wants to fly here and wine and dine me…I guess that is ok? Probably a better use of a week than no-where dates with Coffee Meets Bagel bros.

        • Andie302

          Not off the top of my head, but I will keep my eyes peeled. The character part is tough! I think you pay a premium. You might want to start searching for a whole house (3BRs or more with 2 full bathrooms) if character is a priority. You might be able to find a 2BR/1BTH single family too. I ran a quick search and it’s either very basic finishes or new construction (in 20003).

        • Look at the rental buildings in Georgetown off P Street. The buildings are old and can be a bit dingy, but have character. Small 1BRs start at around $1400 and 2BR/1BAs around $1850.

          • The Kew Gardens apartments in Georgetown have loads of character. The building is beautiful and has a center courtyard with a garden and a pond. Although the one bedrooms may be out of your price range, it’s worth a look.

          • Borger and Stoladi also have buildings on Q St. The lobbies may not be as nice as Kew Gardens, but the apartments are exactly the same (or in some cases, nicer – Kew Gdns has done some lousy reno on units over the years) and the prices are lower.

        • as a former coffee meets bagel bro, i have to say you are a little off base. It sounds like you are just using this guy to have him take you out places? At least i actually liked the girl (for several months) before things went south. But still….I at least had feelings for her. this just seems like some random guy that you do not care about at all, why let him stay over?

          • Emmaleigh504

            Their casual relationship has been going on for years. PopOverWork has been clear with the guy, so don’t think she’s taking advantage. Him visiting is just a new aspect of the relationship.

          • Ha ha ha it’s hilarious that a grown man would have to ask that question

          • “this just seems like some random guy that you do not care about at all, why let him stay over?”
            Because he’s coming from out of town to visit her for a week? Is he supposed to live in a hotel for the entire time at $150/night?
            My guess is that they also want to take multiple rides on the Bone Rollercoaster. Hence the sleep over 😀

          • I didn’t mean to harangue about bagel boys- formerlybagelboy I almost gave you a shout out as I was posting that comment! I have been very clear with him and we’ve been in this vacationship for almost 6 years now. I do not expect him to pay, I am just excited to have an activities partner for a week (worst part of being single), but nervous that we haven’t spent extended periods of time together. It will be interesting (and he will be sleeping over!)

        • Thanks everyone!

          • Fair enough! I guess i didnt know the whole back story and probably spoke too soon! But dont diss/generalize bagel boys! Theres some good ones out there 🙂

  • Rant: Nats win again — up by 9!
    Rave: Only ranting because I’m sneaking out of work for the 4 o’clock game and had hoped, when I bought the tickets, that this would be critical game against their division arch-rival on which the fate of the season turned.
    Rave: Sneaking out of work for a baseball game during a pennant race — even a not-so-exciting one — is a pretty good thing.
    Question: Dinner around the Museum of the American Indian. Could be Penn Quarter or Southwest — anything new (Masala Art and the museum cafeteria already under consideration but not vompelling at this point).

    • While I like close games/pennant races as much as the next guy, when it’s a team I care about, I prefer that they jump out to a commanding lead and then slowly pull (further) away. And while this isn’t quite that, I’ll take a less-exciting 9 game lead with 19 to play than a nail-biter. Then again, I have been steeped in a tradition of my teams flopping even with what look like commanding leads, so no lead is ever big enough for me. And hey, being at the game where they (hopefully) bring the magic number into single digits is pretty good!
      Rave: DC Public Library’s summer reading program offers 2 free Nats tickets as a prize. I (and countless other parents) were there with their kids on Monday – what a great time. Kudos to the Nats for participating.

      • jim_ed

        Agreed on the Nats. That game 5 collapse from 2012 is still too fresh in my mind. The more games we crush the Barves by, the better. Give me a laugher of a pennant race any day of the week.

    • GiantSquid

      Masala Art is soooo gooood. If you are disappointed, I’ll eat my shoe.

  • jim_ed

    Rave: Wife bought me tickets to see Chuck Ragan in Georgetown in December for my birthday
    Rant: You know you’re old when one of your punk rock heroes from your you is playing seated accoustical shows in Georgetown.

    • RAVE: I am going to The Fest in Gainesville were Hot Water Music will play an hour and half set.
      Question: Did you see Hot Water Music when they played 9:30 a year or two ago?

      • jim_ed

        I’m jealous – Fest should be awesome, so many great bands.

        I did see HWM when they came to 9:30. I’m pretty sure this was the first time they played DC in over a decade, so there was no way I was missing it. It was a great show, although it was weird seeing them in such a large venue compared to the Ottobar in Baltimore or Alley Katz (RIP) in Richmond. Quite the dichotomy between the old guys in flannel and beards there to see HWM and all the 15 year old scene kids there for La Dispute. It was also the first time I saw/heard The Menzingers, who have quickly become one of my bands and a gateway drug to the incredible punk coming out of Philly lately.

    • Rave: Chuck Ragan, in general. I saw his Revival Tour a couple years back with Dan Andriano, Tim Barry, Tommy gabel (now Laura Ann Grace), and Cory Branan. Freaking amazing.
      I’m on a Dave Hause kick lately, though. His album Devour is pretty amazing – if you like Chuck’s solo stuff you might like it.

  • rant: bad cats broke my 20+ year old blender (the glass part) last night. found it smashed on the floor.
    rave: can look at fancy replacement blenders/food processors – any suggestions from the crowd?
    rant: bad head cold resulted in major ear pressure blockage on a flight – haven’t been able to hear much SINCE LAST WEDNESDAY!!
    rave: ears are starting to pop a little – hearing is around the corner I hope!

    • Vitamix. It’s fantastic, though pricey. I have heard that there are other less expensive models out there that are just as good, but I have no experience with them. If you like smoothies, creamy soups, etc. It’s worth it to get a good one – the difference in the puree is noticeable.

      • justinbc

        +1 Vitamix, high quality construction. Not sure about the knock-offs.

      • Emmaleigh504

        I’ve heard great things about Vitamix and apparently you can get refurbished ones for not as much.

      • I have a Blendtec, which is a strong competitor to Vitamix and not what I would consider to be a knock-off. I’ve used it almost every day for the last three years to make smoothies, soups, and the like and can’t say enough good things about it. It was also about $100 cheaper than the comparable Vitamix when I bought it and also has a lower profile so it fits under many kitchen cabinets.

        • Emmaleigh504

          I’ve heard great things about Blendtec too.

        • I agree a lower profile would be convenient. I have considered getting a smaller container for the Vitamix for just that reason. Plus, it would be easier to get small quantities out of a lower container.

      • Cuisinart. Love mine.

        • GiantSquid

          Second the Cuisinart. Solid construction, lasted us 8+ years.

          • I also have an old Cuisinart blender/food processor that I like. I didn’t think I would use the food processor attachment at all but it’s actually really handy and I use it frequently.

            Stick blenders are also really useful. I use mine for pasta sauce.

    • I bought a Vitamix based on my brother’s raving about it (and he is not one to rave about an appliance) fully expecting to return it because it wasn’t worth it. But it really does work well. No more chunks in my daily smoothies, and the flaxseeds I dump in at the end are completely pulverized. I have a Costco membership, so it was cheaper there.

      Although Formerly Broken Jaw may have a good recommendation. S/he (sorry FBJ – I can’t remember your gender) was blender bound for a while.

      • Formerly Broken Jaw

        I’m a guy.

        My $40 Oster blender does just fine! It doesn’t pulverize everything but I’m fine with a little bulk.

    • What do you mostly use it for? I’ve found a stick blender covers about 90% of what I want to do (cream soups, smoothies, puree veggies etc.) then the cuisinart fills in the rest. Plus blenders & cuisinarts are always for sale on Craigslist.

      • Stick blender is the BEST. (I have a kitchenaid.) I’ll never hassle with a hard-to-clean blender again. However, I’ve never tried to use it to crush ice… victoria, have you? Does it work for that? I don’t much like margaritas, so it’s never come up for me. I use it to make smoothies (with frozen fruit but no ice cubes), creamy soup, and whipped cream, mostly.

        • I’ve never tried it for crushing ice and don’t think it would do it. But to crush ice, I just put it in a clean dish towel and whack hell out of it on the counter. Perfect ice, no mess and kind of fun.

      • epric002

        i loooooove my stick/immersion blender. we’re addicted to a blended spinach soup and i must make about 50 batches a winter. so much easier to use that than pouring hot liquid in and out of a regular blender.

        • Ooh, addictive spinach soup recipe please?

          • epric002

            it’s from my hippie/health nutty mom, and i’m not sure where she got the recipe from- i haven’t been able to find it online. but here it is:

            1 sliced yellow onion
            4 T butter
            4 C broth (chicken or veggie- i use whatever i have on hand. chicken gives better flavor IMO but it’s vegetarian if you use veggie)
            1/2 t salt
            1/2 C brown rice (i use quick cooking)
            1 lb fresh spinach (i use more or less depending on how much i have/how thick i want the soup)
            1/2 C milk
            2 eggs, beaten
            1 T lemon juice

            Cook onion in butter in soup/stock pot until soft/translucent. Add broth, salt, and rice. Simmer covered until rice is cooked (use rice package for guidance). Add spinach and simmer 6-8 minutes. Process in/with blender until smooth. Combine eggs and milk in separate bowl. Add a few T of soup to egg/milk mixture to avoid curdling, then stir egg mixture in to soup. Heat through. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste. Stir and serve. (We serve topped with shredded cheddar, diced tomatoes, and freshly ground black pepper. I have a friend who loves it topped with grated parm. Sometimes my husband adds a dollop of greek yogurt, or goat cheese, or hot sauce. I feel like you can top with almost anything you like). Enjoy 🙂 Oh, and it freezes wonderfully too- I always make at least a double batch and freeze the leftovers.

          • Cream of spinach soup is an easy no recipe kind of recipe. Saute onions – more or less as you like – in olive oil, butter or whatever combination you like. (In the biggest pot you have – makes blending neater) When onions are soft, toss in a bunch of raw spinach, a little salt & pepper. Wilt the spinach, then add broth/stock/water and simmer just a couple of minutes. Hit is with your stick blender.

            Then, for whatever thickness or flavor you prefer, add cream, sour cream, (when adding cold dairy – stir in a little bit of hot soup to the diary gradually until it is warm) cooked rice or cooked potato and blend it with your stick blender. Too thick? Add more liquid. Adjust seasoning (some people like a little nutmeg.)

            Garnish with chopped scallions, roasted diced mushrooms, croutons – whatever you like.

            If you have a Costco membership you can make a huge batch and freeze it in individual portions.

          • Both of those look delicious. One quibble (not for you, who make them a lot, but for anyone tryign them new) – don’t add salt until the end. Soups cook down, you may be using a stock with more sodium – it’s safer to add to taste at the end, not at the beginning.

        • Good point about the salt. If you ever have a too-salty soup – add potato. Grated raw potato is easiest. Or cooked rice (unsalted of course.) The best thing about soups is that they can always be saved – (unless burned – in that case, forgive yourself and let it go – you’re not starving in the siege of Leningrad) lemon juice to brighten up – Sour cream because it saves pretty much everything. Eggs (scramble, add stock gradually) to thicken.

      • thanks for all the comments everyone!
        I mostly make smoothies (like every day), but would anticipate using one that had stronger blades to make lots of veggie soups.
        I hear the Vitamix is fast-working, which removes one major barrier to making soups.
        i’ll have to look into the blendtec and others too.
        the blender I’ve been using is Oster and it’s held up a long time, but wasn’t good at chopping.

        • grrrr…that was me above

        • As mentioned above, the stick blender is ideal for veggie soups – no need to pour hot liquids into a blender (big mess and burns!) I make curried carrot or squash soup, cauliflower soup, split pea – anything at all – the stick is perfect!

          • I agree the stick will do a basic blend, but it simply doesn’t have the power to create a really smooth puree like a good stand-up blender. We used a stick for years, and there’s no comparison. It may not matter for certain soups, and some people don’t mind the chunks/heft, but for sauces and truly creamy soups there’s no comparison. You just have to weigh the result against the hassle – there’ no question that a stick is many, many times more convenient.

          • Chunks and “heft” ? I of course don’t know your idea of “smooth” for a pureed soup – (Gerber baby food?) but my stick gives me silky, luscious puree. Final particle diameter maybe .00000000001?

          • My stick blender is a weighty thing… powerful motor. And when deployed correctly, there are zero chunks. There are less powerful stick blenders on the market, though. My mother loved mine, so bought one for herself. But she got a cheap one, and was disappointed.

          • I have both a stick blender and a regular blender (the Blendtec I mentioned above) and use them for different things. Or, rather, I make almost everything in the Blendtec, but pull out my stick blender on rare occasions when the recipe seems to really call for it.

            For soups, I usually ladle hot ingredients into the blender jar, then pour out the hot soup after blending. I have plenty of kitchen disasters under my belt, but none have involved my Blendtec.

            FWIW, I have a hard time getting smooth purees with my stick blender too, but maybe I’m doing something wrong? Do you have to use a very narrow vessel for the puree?

          • And I have a “powerful” stick blender.

  • justinbc

    Rant: Meal at Fat Pete’s BBQ was terribly bland. I would love to say it was a disappointment, but honestly I expected as much from a place that tries to do every region’s BBQ specialties well. Between me and a friend we tried 8 meats and 4 sides. The spare ribs were the only standout meat, and the sides were good, but not raveworthy. Sadly this is about what I’ve come to anticipate from new BBQ places in DC.

    • jim_ed

      It’s a hike from the city, but try Willard’s BBQ in Chantilly. It’s tucked in the back of a nondescript strip mall near the Dulles Expo Center and has the best barbecue I’ve found in the area, including a passable homemade South Carolina mustard sauce.

      • justinbc

        I’ve been to Willard’s (along with most other notables in the area) and enjoyed it. If you’re going out that way, I actually think The Pit Stop in Aldie is my favorite drive-worthy option in this area. big Bad Wolf up in Baltimore is great too, but it’s such a hike I can rarely reason it. Speaking of SC mustard, the one at Fat Pete’s was easily the worst of their 6 sauces. It just tastes like sugar.

    • Justin, I remember you saying that you liked DCity for BBQ in DC-proper. Are there any spots within an easy drive outside of DC that you would recommend over DCity (which is a short stroll for me personally)?

    • dcgator

      I just tried Mr. P’s for the first time last week. It was okay, but not that great. I think my ribs were probably waiting for someone to buy them for a while, as it was pretty dry.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: de-duplicating mathematically

  • Rant – My coworker is the biggest a-hole on the planet. During a staff meeting, he interrupted me when I was updating the boss on my projects, and then interrupted me for a second time when I was a responding to a question the boss asked me. I ignored him and kept talking. This dude just gets under my skin in the worst way. He is the reason why I hate my job so much.
    Rave – Nice Skype chat with my BFF yesterday. Hearing her two kids constantly fighting and screaming in the background helped curb my “I want a baby now!” feelings.

  • Rant – Radiologist and Doc can’t agree on what they see on my MRI, so there is still no real answer about why I’m still in pain over a year after my (second) hip surgery).

    Rave/Rant – doc gave me a cortisone shot in the hip. PT thinks this will make it better, but for today it hurts like a Mother @#$@#$#@#. I had to go back to using a cane because I can’t put weight on my leg.

  • epric002

    rave: took foster puppy in for vet follow-up this morning and they’re happy with the progress he’s made, but he still has more to make! he is such a ham and looooves all the attention he gets from the ladies at the vet 🙂
    rave: now that we don’t have to schedule as many medical appts for him, we can finally buckle down and get serious about training. time for puppy manners!
    random: panhandler at CVS last night asked me to buy him a laxative. totally threw me off guard.
    rave: both a medical/insurance issue and a tax issue appear to be in resolution- fingers crossed!

    • “random: panhandler at CVS last night asked me to buy him a laxative. totally threw me off guard.”
      A side effect of heroin/opiate addiction is severe constipation. Poor guy probably hasn’t had a good BM in a week or two 🙁

    • epric002

      interesting. i figured it was drug-related but didn’t know which. while i was having a flustered convo with him another woman came out of the store and told him “glad you’re still here- i got you covered”, which absolved me of having to buy him a laxative. he was still there when i emerged and told me to have a nice day. he seemed to be in a better mood so i suppose he got the laxative.

  • Rant: First MS relapse since the winter. I’m lucky it’s not terrible, but riding the metro has been particularly hard this go-round. Feel like kind of a doofus/newbie holding on tightly to a pole with both hands.
    Rant: Very, very tired. Haven’t been sleeping at all for a few weeks – wonder what I can try or do? I am always, every night, dreaming or thinking about work. I don’t feel particularly stressed out during the day very much.
    Rave: My dog. Always happy to see me – last night he ran straight into me and rolled over, demanding belly rubs. He’s the best rescue!

    • Don’t be afraid to ask for a seat if you need one. Say something like ” I’m so sorry, but I’m really shaky and don’t feel good – could I have your seat? I don’t want to keel over on top of you. Thank you so much.” If you’re really nice about it, most people are really good about it.

    • Please do ask for a seat. You don’t have to explain why.
      I am in awe of an older lady who got onto the metro train announcing “I’m going to need a seat! Can anyone please give up their seat?” and we scrambled to do so.

    • Beverly, please do ask for a seat when you need one! I usually have my nose buried in a book, but if someone asked me politely, I would not hesitate to get up!

  • GiantSquid

    Revel: Received an offer of employment from a friend last night. Still need to talk numbers and get solid details on job, but it would be a position I could learn a lot in.
    Rant: Wish I wasn’t scared of change.
    Revel: talked one of my best friends into flying down for Columbus Day weekend to go to the FESTIVAL. Working on the other two of our “Rat Pack”.
    Rant: One of the friends is understandably uncomfortable with us paying for her plane ticket. I’ve had no money, I understand the feeling, but we’re doing it not to make her feel indebted to us but to spend time with her and give her a chance to relax and see friends after and especially rough year. People were kind and generous to me when I didn’t have much, I have to pay-it-forward.

  • Rant: Depression or just a rut? My overactive, internal locus of control tells me it’s just a rut, especially since I’ve been still functioning and performing at a very high, intense level at work (where the work is meaningful but I’m not very happy due to feeling unchallenged), but a rut that lasts 4 months?

    • I am NOT a medical professional, but if you have the means, going to a doctor couldn’t hurt. General / family doctor I think would be a good start.

  • Rant: I carelessly chipped the edge of my marble counter top (woe is me, I know). I still have a little piece that I could somehow glue/epoxy back into place, though I would need some epoxy(?) to fill in some of the space. Does anyone have any experience with fixing dings in marble?

  • I forgot I have another question for crowdsourcing: Any recommendations on vacuum cleaners, especially on ones that are good at getting up cat hair?
    I think I might have killed my vacuum — it sucked something up (I think maybe a small sheet of paper?) and there was a burning smell. Whatever got sucked up went too far for me to pull it out from the brush area, and I haven’t figured out if there’s a way to take the vacuum apart. When I try to use the machine now, it makes noise but has about zero suction, and a faint burning smell.

    • Andie302

      I love my (now ancient) Dyson vacuum. I bought mine before they had the roller ball and it’s still going strong. I don’t have experience with the cat hair question, but they do make one especially for animal hair. They are $100 off from the manufacturer right now at Dyson.com until 9/13.

    • I gave my Dyson away because it was so bad with picking up hair. I’ve got a Shark that I picked up at Costco now and it’s infinitely better with hair and weighs approximately 80 million pounds less than the Dyson did.

      • I had the same experience with dyson. It didn’t get the cat hair, and it was iffy on the rest. Plus, SO HEAVY. I used it for the last time the day my new Hoover arrived. Then I used the Hoover and nearly filled the cannister with everything the dyson had left behind. Yuck.

    • epric002

      miele all the way! don’t have a cat but it’s great for 2 dogs! my parents have one of the more expensive ones but offered to buy us one as a house warming gift. we picked one of the cheaper ones, and i still love it! it doesn’t have as many attachment options as the higher end ones but i still think it’s fabulous. and you can get it from amazon.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I love my Dyson. It picks up cat hair on my shag rug. They make one specifically for animal hair, but I just got a regular one.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      I have a Dyson and it is great on all floors and with cat hair. I had a Shark a while back and ended up throwing it out. I think the newer ones must be much better. But definitely shop around and find a Dyson on sale.

    • If it’s a “nice” vacuum with an otherwise lot of life left, it’s probably worth it to take to a vacuum repair shop for a $70 fix.
      If it’s a piece of junk, then splurge or a Dyson or Miele.

    • If you go Dyson, they have them at Costco for a lot cheaper. If you’re not a member, you can either find a friend to take you (not that the friend will have the make the purchase and you pay them back) or see if getting a membership for the year still works out in your favor.

      • epric002

        costco membership for $55 on either living social or groupon today…

        • The membership is not reduced, but it comes with other stuff that makes it a deal, sort of. I, for one, do not buy toilet paper there because I have no where to put it, so including a 36 pack of toilet paper in the “deal” is actually a terrible idea for me. Unless I want to decorate with a pyramid of toilet paper.

        • Normal Costco membership is $50 for two people in a household.
          I guess they are giving away freebies for the $55 deal? A massive 36 pack of TP run about $18, depending on brand.

          • Also a rotisserie chicken and a pie!
            It comes with a $20 gift card, too, so I guess it turns into a $35 membership plus some items you might or might not want (see jeslett’s comment about TP above).

          • Depsite what Jeslett says, we all need toilet paper. Unless you’re Beldar from Remulak (Coneheads don’t have butt cracks).

          • My linen closet fits 6 rolls of toilet paper, which I buy at Target (it’s almost always 5% off with the Cartwheel app, then another 5% off with the red card). What am I going to do with another 30 rolls? Build a fort in my living room?

    • I’ve had a Dyson for about 8 years. I used to have the really big heavy one, but 3 years ago traded that for the animal version with the ball. I love it. It has never failed me and it picks up dog hair better than any of the cheap-o versions I had previously bought.

    • Thanks for the all of the tips!

    • If you want a Dyson, I ordered a refurbished one on Groupon for cheap (Dyson cheap, that is….I think $250?). It works wonderfully and has the roller ball. Even had color options!

    • I love the Shark vacuum I bought a few years ago. It was significantly cheaper than Dyson and it hasn’t broken despite the massive amounts of hair I personally shed (gross, but true).

      • Ally

        Same here. I have hair that’s close to waist length and 3 cats… and a rabbit (hello, angora on your floor!). If the Shark can handle all that, it’s a keeper. I think it’s clogged maybe once in the couple of years I’ve had it, and that was from hay (see aforementioned rabbit).

    • Ally

      I have a Shark (one of their “fancier” large white models) and it’s been really great — and was 1/3 the price of a Dyson. I’ll admit I partially like it because, since it’s all white, it has a cute little Apple vibe, but it’s great on hardwood and carpet, so the function’s there.

    • We got a Kenmore Progressive cannister type vacuum at Sears, it has a special long attachment with a rotating brush that is great for getting up pet hair.

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